Saturday, January 27, 2018

18-Year-Old British Sikh Girl, Who Plotted To Join ISIS In Syria, Jailed

Monday, January 22, 2018

Image of lawyers in India not very good, says Supreme Court judge

The image of lawyers in the country is not very good and the profession requires more quality, Supreme Court judge Justice L Nageswara Rao today said and urged student-lawyers not to be attracted towards corporate jobs. 

Delivering the keynote address at the 14th K K Luthra memorial moot court competition here, Justice Rao asked the law students to take up the profession and go to courts. 

"This (Court) is the place where real lawyers should be," Justice Rao said, adding the duties of the profession must be understood while entering the field. 

Despite SC order, 4,000 pathology labs running illegally in Gujarat

As many as 4,000 pathological laboratories are operating illegally in Gujarat at present, according to the Gujarat Association of Pathologists and Microbiologists (GAPM) said this on Sunday.
According to the association, the Supreme Court in December last year had upheld the Gujarat High Court's order which had directed that only a qualified and registered pathologist with a postgraduate qualification in pathology can countersign the pathology report of any patient. The SC verdict had emphasised that pathology labs that operate without a qualified pathologist will have to stop all operations till a qualified pathologist is employed by them.

GAPM office-bearers said that after the order of the apex court, the association has submitted complaint regarding 470 such illegal laboratories in the state with details of their names, their addresses and the reports prepared by them as evidence.

"But neither the state government, nor the state's health department nor the police department has taken action against such laboratories which are putting health of citizens of the state at risk," said GAPM's president Dr Rajendra Lalani.
Of the total 470 such illegal labs that the association has brought to the notice of the state government, the maximum number of such labs are operating in Surat. "We had submitted complaint against 67 such labs running in Surat on December 30 and provided a list of another 61 labs on January 20," he said.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sexual pervert" deserves no leniency

No one can touch a woman without her consent, a Delhi court said and termed it unfortunate that women continue to be victimized by "lecherous and sexually- pervert" men.

The court's observation came while awarding five years jail term to Ram for sexually assaulting a nine-year-old girl.

Additional sessions judge Seema Maini awarded rigorous imprisonment to Uttar Pradesh resident Chavi Ram, who had inappropriately touched the minor at a crowded market in north Delhi's Mukherjee Nagar in 2014.

The court said a woman's body is her own and it is she who has an exclusive right over it and all others are prohibited to touch her body, without her consent, for any purpose whatsoever.

It also said that right to privacy of women does not seem to be recognised by men and they do not think twice, before making untoward advances or satisfying their lust by sexually assaulting helpless girls.

"Such perverts, get a sexual kick by assaulting the women, oblivious to the rights of privacy of the female gender including a female child," it said.

The court said that Ram being a "sexual pervert" deserves no leniency and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on him out of which Rs 5,000 would be given to the girl.

Apart from that the court asked the Delhi State Legal Service Authority to pay Rs 50,000 to the child.

"In a free, fast progressing, technically-strong country like India, it is an unfortunate scenario that the female citizens, be it an adult or a small child, continue to be consistently victimised by lecherous and sexually pervert male folk, found in abundance in public places, especially crowded markets, public transports like buses and Metros and recreation joints like movie halls and theatres," the court said.

According to the complaint, on September 25, 2014, while the girl was with her mother at the market near Mukherjee Nagar here, Ram inappropriately touched the child and tried to molest her.

The minor immediately informed her mother and pointed to Ram after which he started running from the spot. He was caught by the mother with the help of passersby.

The man claimed he was falsely implicated in the case as the market was crowded and it was a case of misconception.

He claimed that the real offender ran away after committing the crime.

The court, however, rejected Ram's claim and said it was clear that he was with a sexual intent, taking advantage of a crowded market place, wilfully touching the girl and thereafter trying to run away.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Caste decided by birth, can't change on marriage

A person's caste is unalterable and can't change after marriage, the Supreme Court said on Thursday, setting aside the appointment of a woman teacher who joined Kendriya Vidyalaya 21 years ago taking benefit of reservation on the ground that she was married to a Scheduled Caste man.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M M Shantanagoudar said the woman, who has now become vice-principal after serving two decades in the school, was not entitled to the benefits of reservation as she was born in an upper caste family and her caste remained so despite marrying into a Scheduled Caste family.

"There cannot be any dispute that the caste is determined by birth and the caste cannot be changed by marriage with a person of Scheduled Caste. Undoubtedly, she was born in 'Agarwal' family, which falls in general category and not in Scheduled Caste. Merely because her husband belongs to a Scheduled Caste category, she should not have been issued with a caste certificate showing her caste as Scheduled Caste," the bench said.

The woman was issued a caste certificate in 1991 by the district magistrate of Bulandshahr certifying her as of Scheduled Caste. Based on the academic qualifications and caste certificate, she was appointed as a Post Graduate Teacher in 1993 at Kendriya Vidyalaya at Pathankot in Punjab. During the course of her service, she completed her M.Ed.

Two decades after her appointment, a complaint was filed against her seeking cancellation of her appointment, alleging she had illegally taken the benefit of reservation without belonging to Scheduled Caste category. After conducting an inquiry, authorities cancelled her caste certificate and Kendriya Vidalaya terminated her job in 2015. Challenging KV's decision, she approached the Allahabad HC which dismissed her plea, and upheld her termination. She then approached the apex court for relief.

Taking into account her unblemished service of over two decades, the SC modified the HC order and said the order of termination from service shall be treated as the order of compulsory retirement. "While exercising leniency, we have also kept in mind that she has neither played fraud nor misrepresented before authorities for getting the caste certificate... No questions were raised against her till the complaint ... came to be lodged, even when the authorities had seen the high school certificate.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Banks run immigration checks in Home Office crackdown

Banks are to begin immigration checks on millions of accounts as part of a Home Office scheme to create a "hostile environment" for people living in the UK unlawfully.

The new scheme, which will be rolled out this month, requires banks and building societies to check all current account holders against a list of people liable for deportation or wanted by immigration enforcement.

If an account holder is found to be in the UK illegally the bank must inform the Home Office, which will instruct on action that may include closing the account.

"These new measures are part of our commitment to make it more difficult for people with no right to live or work in the UK to remain here," immigration minister Caroline Noakes said.

The measures have been criticised by rights groups who say they will expose vulnerable people to harm, as well as putting those with regular migration status at risk of having their accounts mistakenly closed.

"What is shocking about this system is that people's bank accounts, which they rely on for their jobs, their homes, and every aspect of life, can be closed with no clear means of redress or compensation in case of errors," said Chai Patel, legal policy director of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants.

"Additionally, this places people affected at even greater risk of exploitation and of being driven into a cash-only economy at the mercy of unscrupulous employers and landlords."

Friday, January 12, 2018

Commercial activities banned in basements

As part of an initiative to curb traffic snarls on city roads, city police on Thursday issued a notification banning use of designated parking spots and common areas for commercial activities. Flouting the rules can be punished under provisions of IPC Section 188 and Gujarat Police Act.

According to the notification, it has been found that a number of basements, cellars and parking lots in buildings are used for activities such as sale of second-hand vehicles, fitting accessories, garages and so on. Using such space for commercial activities has been banned by a Supreme Court judgement as it forces vehicle owners to park on the road, mentioned the notification.

It also covered the eateries that utilize such spaces for serving customers or preparing food. The notification mentioned that some of the malls also provide the space for exhibitions and sales.

'With the notification, the use of basement and parking space is banned for commercial activities,' mentioned the circular.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

SC makes anthem optional in cinema halls

Amending its order that had been in force for a little over a year, the Supreme Court made it optional on Tuesday for cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening a film and spared moviegoers of a compulsory display of patriotism by having to stand up.

On November 30, 2016, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy had passed an interim order that said, "All cinema halls in India shall play the national anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the national anthem."

The SC had not expected that its order to judicially instil patriotism and nationalism among movie-goers could lead to vigilantism with instances where even the old and invalid were forced to stand up in cinema halls.

A year later, there was a change of attorney general, with K K Venugopal succeeding Mukul Rohatgi and, importantly, an altered perception at the Centre, which filed an affidavit requesting the court to make playing of the national anthem optional in cinema halls.

Venugopal requested a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud to modify the 2016 order by replacing "shall" with "may" since the Centre had constituted a 12-member inter-ministerial committee to look into all aspects related to singing and screening of the national anthem.

Following the Centre's submission, the SC disposed of the petition and said its order making the national anthem optional would remain in operation till the committee came out with recommendations. It is not clear what effect the order making the national anthem optional will have in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, the two states which had issued notifications prior to November 30, 2016, making it mandatory for cinema halls to play the anthem before screening a film.

Aware of the widespread criticism of the order, mainly because of the activities of vigilante groups in enforcing it, the three-judge bench readily accepted the AG's request on Tuesday, which in in sync with the loud hints the SC had dropped during a hearing on October 23 last year on a PIL filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey.

During the last hearing, the judges were critical of the outcome of its 2016 order. It had said, "Why do we have to wear patriotism on our sleeves? People go to cinema for undiluted entertainment. Tomorrow someone may say people should not come in shorts and T-shirts to cinema halls because the national anthem is played there. Where will this moral policing stop?" The court said the committee could examine laying down a set of rules, like the Flag Code, and set out guidelines for the singing of the national anthem. The SC said the government will take a final decision after receiving the recommendations.

While passing the 2016 order, the SC bench had said, "We have so directed as (then) attorney general Mukul Rohatgi submits with all humility at his command and recommends that the national anthem has to be respected.

The directions are issued for love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the national anthem as well as to the national flag. That apart, it would instil the feeling within one a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism."

Monday, January 8, 2018

Iran bans English in primary schools after leaders' warning

Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary schools, a senior education official said, after Islamic leaders warned that early learning of the language opened the way to a Western "cultural invasion."

"Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations," Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the state-run High Education Council, told state television late on Saturday.

"This is because the assumption is that, in primary education, the groundwork for the Iranian culture of the students is laid," Navid-Adham said, adding that non-curriculum English classes may also be blocked.

The teaching of English usually starts in middle school in Iran, around the ages of 12 to 14, but some primary schools, below that age, also have English classes.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Adult girl has a right to live life of her choice: SC

Striking hard at the societal tendency to impose restrictions on girls with regard to their choice of dress, profession and life partner, the Supreme Court on Friday declared that an adult woman enjoyed an unfettered right to lead a life of her choice.
"It needs no special emphasis to state that attaining the age of majority in an individual's life has its own significance. S/he is entitled to make her/his choice. The courts cannot, as long as the choice remains, assume the role of parens patriae (legal protector)," said a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.

"The daughter is entitled to enjoy her freedom as the law permits and the court should not assume the role of super guardian being moved by any kind of sentiment of the mother or egotism of the father. We say so without any reservation," it said.

Reiteration of constitutional respect to a girl's choice in the face of parental and societal pressures assume significance as the apex court had recently followed the same principle while permitting Hadiya to pursue her studies, despite the love-jihad allegations levelled by her father and the Kerala HC decision to annul her marriage to a Muslim man after conversion.
Asserting that every major woman has absolute right to make choices in life, the Supreme Court on Friday held that "courts can't play super-guardians".

A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, emphasised that an adult woman has an unqualified right to make free choices in her life and there cannot be any interdiction.

"She is entitled to enjoy her freedom as a major, she is entitled to go wherever she wants, do whatever she likes..," maintained the CJI.

Justice Misra observed that an adult woman has a right of her will and that she cannot be stopped from pursuing her goals.

Incidentally, this is the same bench which has recently issued direction against parental custody of a major woman in Kerala, in what has come to be known as 'Love Jihad' case.

The court had then said the 25-year-old woman, Hadiya, who has converted to Islam and married a Muslim man, will be admitted to the medical college to complete her studies.

In the present case, the remarks came as the court dismissed a plea by a woman, who pressed for custody of her major daughter.

The petition cited an order by a family court, giving custody of the girl to the mother.

But after the girl turned major in September last year, she expressed her willingness to go to Kuwait and stay with her father. This prompted the mother to file a contempt petition against the father, and seek the custody of the daughter.

The court, however, refused to pass any order of custody, pointing out once the girl has become major, she will have absolute right to decide who she wants to live with.

"How can you ask us to make her a victim of contempt? How can we atop her? As a major, she can go to Kuwait and live with her father if she wants," concluded the bench.​

Thursday, January 4, 2018

FIR filed in Aadhaar data leak case; all info safe, says UIDAI

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has registered an FIR for unauthorised access to Aadhaar data, such as names and other demographic details, due to the misuse of the grievance redressal facility at the office of the Surat district administration in Gujarat. The breach came to light following a report in The Tribune that claimed an "agent" available on WhatsApp facilitated access by a login ID and password to the particulars of any Aadhaar number.

The agent, the report claimed, was paid Rs 500 through Paytm. Particulars such as name, address, postal code, photo, phone number and email were accessed and the Aadhaar card printed, the report said. UIDAI denied that the breach allowed access to millions of Aadhaar cardholders' details, saying the search facility is available for the purpose of grievance redressal to designated personnel and state government officials and details are limited to the particular Aadhaar number punched in.

The system did not provide an avenue to other cardholders. Demographic information cannot be misused without biometrics, UIDAI said. An FIR has been filed at Mohali from where the "purchase" of access to Aadhaar data was reported. Officials said they are taking the unauthorised use of the grievance mechanism seriously and will work with police to trace people involved in making the login ID and password available to a private entity, which will also be investigated. "UIDAI assures there has not been any Aadhaar data breach. The Aadhaar data, including biometric information, is fully safe," UIDAI said, adding the redressal mechanism was intended to help residents by entering their Aadhaar or enrolment number.

Stating that the given case appears to be a misuse of the grievance redressal search facility, UIDAI said it maintains a complete log and traceability and legal action will follow. "UIDAI reiterates that the grievance redressal search facility gives only limited access to name and other details and has no access to biometric details," it said.

The media report also mentioned that groups operating on the internet targeted village-level enterprise (VLE) operators operating under the Common Service Centres Scheme and said the VLEs had gained illegal access to Aadhaar data to subsequently claim to provide "Aadhaar services". A UID official said they were looking at the claim but pointed out that enrolment agents did not have access to the Aadhaar system.

With the Supreme Court due to soon pronounce on the validity of the use of Aadhaar for a range of services, the claim of a data theft raised a flurry of reactions, with Left leaders saying the incident exposed the frailty of the UID system. Senior police officials told TOIthat by entering Aadhaar numbers, one could get details that are available on an Aadhaar card, along with the phone number. Kiran Jonnalagadda, cofounder at tech discussion forum HasGeek and Internet Freedom Foundation, said the Aadhaar system is insecure.

"The backdoor has already been opened. It is quite easy to hack into their systems and the stolen demographic identities can be misused in a lot of ways," he said. He is one of the petitioners in a petition demanding proper auditing of Aadhaar database. Aperson working with the government on Aadhaar-related projects said while leaks should not happen, no material leak had happened in this case.

"Aadhaar has less information about you than even the voter ID card," he said, adding that such leaks could happen even in the voter ID card system or the RTO. The Indian system does not allow any agency, including the government, to access a resident's data, without authorisation from the person. He said telecom operators and others in the US can look up a citizen's data by accessing his/her social security number without even the citizen knowing about it.

UIDAI said Aadhaar is not a secret number. It is to be shared with authorised agencies whenever an Aadhaar holder wishes to avail a certain service or benefit from government schemes.